Doing the right thing with Cmd-H

Here’s another little glimpse into the future:
As I’ve written previously, when OS X took over long-standing Photoshop shortcuts, it created a tricky situation: break Photoshop users’ habits/flow by changing PS to match the OS, or deviate from the new OS conventions?
In Photoshop CS4 we changed Cmd-` (Cmd-~) to cycle among open documents, matching the standard Mac convention (while continuing to honor the Windows-standard convention, Ctrl-Tab, as well). As expected, it’s been a painful move for some customers*, but sometimes that’s necessary.
With regard to Cmd-H, Photoshop’s keyboard shortcut editor has long made it possible to assign Cmd-H to hiding the app. Doing so takes just a few seconds, yet many people are unaware of this or unwilling to invest the time. Therefore our plan is that in the future, the dialog you see above will pop up once (on Mac only) the first time you hit Cmd-H, asking which behavior you prefer. Special thanks to John Gruber (who independently suggested this solution) for offering the team some timely words of encouragement.
Yes, in terms of these little tweaks, there’s always much more to be done, but we made some good progress in CS4 and plan to make even more in the future. I thought you’d like to see a little proof of that commitment.
* It’s possible to switch shortcuts back by dropping in a plug-in/running a registry entry (here’s the download). In the future we plan to make it easier to control this preference inside Photoshop.

56 thoughts on “Doing the right thing with Cmd-H

  1. I am just glad Adobe is committed to making Photoshop great on the Mac and on the PC. CS4 x64 is one of the best products ever to come out of Adobe. Well, lightroom is very close.

  2. so what will the new default shortcut be for hiding extras if you choose the os x convention option?
    [It takes on Cmd-Ctrl-H, which by default is mapped to hiding Photoshop (in CS4 and many previous revs). That is, PS simply swaps the mappings that exist today. –J.][Interestingly enough, my experience is that many people will gladly take more time to complain about things than it would take to fix them! (Seriously, finding this blog, then writing up comments is much slower than choosing Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts & settings things as desired.) –J.]

  3. If you guys would just invent software that reads our minds, we could just skip over all this nonesense. 🙂
    Happy Holidays John! Hope you and your family have a great time.
    [Thanks, George, and same to you guys. –J.]

  4. I can read several times that people “aren’t willed” to take the track to the PS Keyboard Configuration that takes “only a few seconds”.
    “a few seconds” It’s not true John!
    I’m not talking about “CMD+H” i’m talking of much deeper Keyboard configuratitions and the pain in the ass finding the right spot.
    I applied several feature requests ragarding a search function for the PS Keyb. Shortcuts Prefs.
    Don’t know what i’m talking about?
    Go and fire up Final Cut Pro and go straight to Keyboard Shortcuts Configurator an play around a little with the search. It registers even Keytrokes and displays corresponding shorcuts.
    [The visual layout of the keyboard seems like a nice touch, though I’m not quite getting why it would be critical. Both PS and FCP detect when you try to assign a shortcut that’s already in use, enabling you to go and re-assign the conflicting command. FCP offers a search function–a nice idea, though I’m getting unpredictable results (e.g. “Cmd-V” returns results for Cmd-Opt-V, but “Shift-Cmd-V” returns nothing). –J.]
    Instead i have must install another AIR “Keyboard Shortcut” Application bloating my computer.
    [I take it you haven’t noticed that you can hit Summarize within the PS KBSC dialog in order to “print” an HTML list of all your shortcuts. You don’t need anything separate. (I don’t see FCP offering that affordance.) –J.]
    You may hate me for my comments, ok. But i don’t like Adobes lazyness and lagging behind with implementations or simply screwing and bloating up things with new uneccesary components.
    [So, Adobe is bloated and lazy, but you want us to add more functionality to match the FCP KBSC editor that doesn’t match long-standing Photoshop functionality? Okay. –J.]
    Same applies for “Inspector” or how apple call them: “HUD”
    What you guys are waiting for?
    [How about a cycle in which we’re not mandated to do an enormous amount of work with very little customer benefit? –J.]
    I mean, you show all the technical crazyness that may apply in future version, but at the same time driving people crazy with the smallest things you’re screwing up the app with.
    Again, but with a stronger tone: I hate all that “Panels” stuff in CS4!
    [Perhaps you’ve been more specific in previous posts. I’ll have to go back and look. –J.]
    I’m a Freelancer working continously on several different machines at different customers, so imagine yourself not working permanetly with your own big sheen Macbook set up and ready to go.
    [Note that you can move things like PS keyboard settings files around among machines. –J.]
    It becomes like hammering nails into the wall with a screwdriver.
    Really, i’m not getting tired of spitting fire but tired of running against walls.

  5. In the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, I can’t seem to assign Cmd+Control+H to the Show Extras command? It allows me to use Option and Shift though.
    [Unfortunately you can’t include the Mac Control key (as opposed to the Cmd key) in keyboard shortcuts, as there’s no equivalent on Windows. Maybe that’s a restriction we should lift, though it would reduce one’s ability to share shortcuts across platforms. –J.]

  6. Sounds great. Nice addition. I’m all for honouring the OS’s shortcuts… even if that means I have to relearn a little with each release. I’d prefer Photoshop was a good Mac OS X citizen, rather than keeping legacy support. I completely understand why others might have a different viewpoint, but that’s my position, FWIW. I’m not a new user either: I’ve been using Photoshop since version 2.
    Also, while I’m posting here, I’d love to request a change for my biggest complaint in Photoshop: adding ” copy” to the end of a duped layer name. These days I spend a lot of time building Photoshop documents with 800+ layers and lots of folders (iPhone UI design). I dupe layers and folders of layers all the time. This means that all my carefully named layers get turned into mess very quickly. It’s a huge issue and I waste a lot of time cleaning things up.
    [Get ready to be happy: get ready to be happy: you can eliminate copies of “copy” in CS3/CS4, and we’ll provide a more complete option in the future. –J.
    Very glad this blog and a direct feedback channel for Adobe exists.
    [Thanks; always nice to hear positive feedback. –J.]

  7. All this is nice and all, but could you guys please make Photoshop a bit more stable? I’ve been using it since 6.0, and with every new version it’s laggier and more prone to crashes.

  8. I actually was unaware of the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts window before seeing this post. This is because it is hidden in the Edit menu, preceded by all the commands for editing the image. I think this item, along with Edit Menus…, should be under Photoshop > Preferences. The application menu is generally used for application settings, and one’s keyboard shortcuts are personal preference.
    And by the way, your comment system forgets my name, email, and URL whenever I preview my comment, though it correctly remembers my captcha answer.
    But anyway, good work on the new dialog. This new behavior will be helpful to many.

  9. Nice. Now just make Photoshop not beachball for 90 seconds every time I try to save out a 4k .gif and I’ll be happy.

  10. Now if you’d only get a few more things right like using the default Mac OS installer and using the rest of the default Mac UI. I’m still using CS3 and dread seeing what UI atrocities you come up with for CS5.
    [Nice attitude, man. Endless negativity makes it really easy for people to tune out “Mac fanatics” (“They’ll just bitch and hate us no matter what”), and that makes it harder for me to do my job. –J.]

  11. please
    Make the same thing for most global shortcuts like CMD+, instead of CMD+K.
    People CAN adapt. That’s crazy… Do most of your customers are in retirement ?

  12. The more you post about CS5 the more I like it. Tell your bosses to let you leak more info ;). This is really good news for me. Now if Fireworks’ PNG support made it’s way into Photoshop I’d be happier than a dog at a hydrant factory.
    Merry Christmas, John. Hope you have a great time!

  13. What I would really like to see is Adobe products using the OS X Keyboard Shortcuts preference pane.
    [What do you mean? I just looked, and I don’t see any apps (including all the Apple apps on my system) “using” that preferences pane. Instead, one can use that pane regardless of apps’ built-in mechanisms, right? Meanwhile, the OS mechanism doesn’t offer nearly the functionality you get in the Photoshop KBSC dialog, and it’s obviously not good enough for the Final Cut team (which built its own mechanism). –J.]

  14. Now, if you could s l o w l y migrate all those great Freehand features over to Illustrator. To start: a 3-point arc tool (an arc tool that can generate arbitrary angles).
    Please, Santa?

  15. WONDERFUL. At this rate you might just avoid the fate of QuarkXPress.
    Please make sure that a new, reasonable keybinding gets assigned to hide&show the selection — that’s an important function too, even for an occasional Photoshop user such as myself.

  16. This is old … nothing new to link to here, really. I recall this in CS2.
    [As I said, the ability to choose your own shortcuts isn’t new. The app providing the convenience of asking what you’d like to do in this specific case *is* new. –J.]

  17. A while back I tried to switch all the CS4 apps in a clients installation, so the FCP editors would stop bitching about this issue. What a mess. None of the apps use the same shortcut editing interface. AE required a third party script to change shortcuts. Illustrator’s shortcut editor has an OS9 look to it. I got PS and Illustrator done but I stopped there.

  18. That seems like a really nice compromise john. Personally I prefer cmd+h for selection edges as I’m crossing over from windows. Now for a huge favour – can you make delete work as a key binding for anything in Ps? It works in windows and in mac Il and Id but drives me crazy that I can’t clear a selection with the delete key in photshop (cs3) no matter how much I flub around with keyboard prefs

  19. I know it’s a glimpse of something yet to come, but I would probably improve on the writing slightly. I’d suggest: (using informative text underneath)
    Would you like to use Command-H to hide/show extras such as selections and guides, or to hide the Photoshop application?
    Traditionally Command-H has been used to hide and show extras in Photoshop. This command can be changed later under Keyboard Shortcuts in the Edit menu.
    Note now the primary (first) bit of the sentence matches up with the default button, even if it doesn’t read the same left-to-right with the buttons. Also the word ‘extras’ used on the button is mentioned.
    Anyway, good work in doing this in the first place!

  20. Hi, John. Big thanks for working on making Photoshop more Mac-like. I love Photoshop and couldn’t do without it, but often bemoan problems with appearance and keyboard handling that don’t live up to the platform experience I expect on a Mac.
    The whole issue of the “Mac-ness” of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop is particularly salient for me, as it turns out that almost none of the designated keyboard shortcuts work properly for me. (!)
    Let me explain. I use a keyboard layout called Dvorak-QWERTY, which is natively supported by Mac OS X (introduced in OS 8.6) and works in all apps that use the built-in menu key handling. It appears that Photoshop and indeed the rest of the Creative Suite is not using this OS functionality, or at least not fully.
    Here’s how Dvorak-QWERTY works: for normal typing it is in Dvorak, a layout optimized for fast typing and low wrist strain. However, when time comes to type a command ie Cmd-H or Cmd-Q, it switches the locations of the keys back to QWERTY layout so that the keyboard shortcuts are still in the familiar and ergonomic places on the keyboard. Without starting a debate about the merits of this keyboard layout, let’s just say I like it enough to stick with it despite my problems with Adobe apps.
    Here’s what happens in Photoshop CS3 (IIRC, the behavior is still broken, though possibly different in CS4):
    Cmd-N: File menu flashes, but does nothing
    (though if you have the menu down and then hit Cmd-N, it does work)
    Cmd-L: Opens “New Window” (the L key in QWERTY types an N when in Dvorak)
    Cmd-O: Open dialog (yay!)
    Cmd-S: Open dialog (boo. I was hoping to save!)
    Cmd-A: Selects all (yay!)
    Cmd-opt-I: Canvas size (yay!)
    So, overall pretty weird and unreliable. As a programmer, I can imagine it’s hard to translate what you’re doing for key handling on windows into your Mac app, but I’d urge you to try to go as native as possible for menu handling in CS5, so you don’t have to worry about edge cases like this.
    Please let me know if there is any way I could help to get this fixed in CS5, point me in the right direction for hacking together a workaround, or tell me someone better to bother.
    Cheers and thanks for increasing openness with your users!
    P.S. One more vote for allowing control to be part of user-defined shortcuts.

  21. Instead of putting in more and more options and compound filters (maybe saving some steps but basically just replicating existing behaviour), what about getting rid of the whole outdated interface at all?
    Video software like EyeOn Fusion or Discreet Combustion offered some really cool ways of adjusting color 10 years ago – many UI-approaches used there would also work perfectly for still images.
    In the end, it’s simply about getting the desired result quickly. Shortcut improvements may be nice, but having an uncluttered and STABLE Photoshop would help a lot more.

  22. I think it’s high time to create a “settings manager” that can save a compressed *.pss (Photoshop Settings) file that includes ALL custom settings from Actions to keyboard shortcut config to custom shapes, brushes, layer styles, swatches, workspaces etc. etc.
    Checkboxes to select which types of settings are stored would be an extra bonus.
    I totally agree with those who complain about the difficulty to backup all sorts of settings in an easy yet complete way, e.g. to move them from one computer to another or just to have them somewhere when you need to re-install your workstation. This would be a HUGE time-saver and at least for me one of the strongest new features I can think of.
    [I’m with you; see postscript here. –J.]

  23. I’m glad this is happening for other people. But I’m used to the keyboard mappings the way they are, and having been a happy Photoshop user every day since 1992, I’ll just keep plugging away.
    I sometimes am embarrassed by the ridiculous demands that some Mac users make, and the constant complaining about minor details. I’m glad to see the direction things seem to be going with Photoshop and look forward to CS5 (or whatever it’s called) coming out in the next year or so.
    My Mac Pro is waiting for some 64 bit goodness, and a little variation from the norm in terms of interface widgets (or whatever the complaint de jour is) isn’t going to cause this Photoshop users to stay in the dark ages (CS3) in hopes of Adobe wising up to my lofty standards. (They don’t need to.)
    Happy Holidays to you, John, and the family. It’s really good to see someone so concerned with legitimate feedback from your users. Steve Jobs could use a bit of that.

  24. Not seen this blog before, glad I did though!
    My PS pet peeve is colours. I just can’t figure out how to make it stop messing with them. Even with all colour management turned off, I fill a rectangle with a specific HTML colour, save for web as PNG-24, load it back in and it’s completely different. I have no objection to PS correcting for device variation on output, but that should only affect displayed colour, not values on disk. I’ve tried with calibration and all kinds of different management settings, but I just can’t make it leave things alone. A zillion queries on numerous forums have not helped. The problem has persisted on multiple machines since about PS 6; I stopped upgrading at CS2 because of this. Thing is I’ve loved Photoshop since it was Digital Darkroom, and I don’t really want to use anything else, but this problem has meant that I’ve just given up doing graphics altogether. Sad really. Sorry to ramble.

  25. This is an excellent change!
    I’m thrilled to see Photoshop starting to honor the OS-specific nuances instead of applying the blanket shortcut approach. Sure, you could always change them, but I (and many others, I’m sure) are of the opinion “you shouldn’t have to. It should Just Work as expected, right out of the box.”
    I’m sure tweaks like these entail more engineering work and even more testing, but these little changes really do add up to make Photoshop integrate better with apps and the OS around it. Keep it up!

  26. [The visual layout of the keyboard seems like a nice touch, though I’m not quite getting why it would be critical. Both PS and FCP detect when you try to assign a shortcut that’s already in use, enabling you to go and re-assign the conflicting command. FCP offers a search function–a nice idea, though I’m getting unpredictable results (e.g. “Cmd-V” returns results for Cmd-Opt-V, but “Shift-Cmd-V” returns nothing). –J.]
    We both have a really hard time of understanding each other.
    get more deeper into the function keys of FCP and you’ll realize how FCP KBSC work.
    i’d say without shame that the FCP KBSC configurator is one of the smartest parts of FCP.
    You see clearly that there have several different thinking people been working on different FCP parts.
    Good AND Bad at once.
    Hovever, have a great time on planet earth!

  27. It’s surprising how much this will help. Choosing Cmd-H and getting the wrong action can be an inconvenience to be fixed later, then forgotten about until the situation comes up again. I have often yelled at myself, wondering when I’m going to take the few seconds to fix this (I’ve certainly set other custom keyboard settings). Getting the dialog will provide the opportunity to quickly take care of something that I’ve procrastinated about for too long. Thanks!

  28. Cmd-H being the equivalent of “minimize” on Windows it is, in my view, the third most important system-wide keyboard shortcut on OS X (after Quit and Save). Glad it’s being restored.
    What about Undo then? Calling standard undo behavior “Step Backwards” and moving to a non-standard shortcut seems like a failed experiment. Kind of reminds me of the Mac keyboard calling Backspace “Delete.”

  29. Let me real quickly balance that criticism with some kudos — the Photoshop color picker is and always has been intuitive and great! Wish it could be used in Mac OS X system-wide. That stupid rainbow circle has no saturation slider, and the “crayon view” is just an insult to Mac users.

  30. You can be bitter all you like toward commentors, but I don’t see how this is something to be celebrated. It’s something most of us are going to say “it took this long, why?” instead of jumping for joy.
    [I’m not sure what you’re reading as “bitter.” I’m just eternally disappointed when people prefer bitchy finger-wagging to seeing the positive in things. –J.]

  31. Nice touch to have this question asked!
    Now, I wonder if it will be possible to fully use some key combos on foreign keyboard layouts (i.e. not US or UK). This worked fine in Tiger, but since Leopard (and also in Snow Leopard) it doesn’t work.
    For example: if I use Swedish keyboard layout and wan’t to map ”cmd ä” to increase brush size and ”cmd ö” to decrease it I can set this fine in Photoshop’s Keyboard Shortcuts editor, but when the key combo with these ”exotic” characters are pressed nothing happens!
    Like I said – worked fine in Tiger, so Apple did some changes here.

  32. I’m an involuntary mac user at work, and it still bugs me how hard it is to fix key mappings across the various different programs. Kudo’s for a serious and effective approach.

  33. There is one thing that I would like to have in Photoshop CS5.
    In After Effects I have the opportunity to type in (for example when changing the image size) 3123 / 2
    I would like to have this in Photoshop too. That would shorten my workflow.

  34. So, how about instead of adding trivial features, you guys make something really useful such as full 64-bit support, full Cocoa and better overall experience and speeeeeeeed for OS X?

  35. It really would be most important for Adobe to actually fix Bridge CS4’s memory leak problem (Windows) which has been reported over and over and over again by lots of users on the Adobe Photoshop forum. The problem is that Bridge will not properly sharpen RAW images after you hit the space bar, and eventually crashes, if you have a large collection of images that Bridge handles.
    There was no such problem with Bridge3 which worked fast and was stable.

  36. I’m in CS5 and have unfortunately made the wrong selection in that first window – I wanted Hide Extras and not Hide Photoshop. I have tried to find a way to reset this but no luck. Tried to reinstall software but no go. Any ideas on how to reset this, so I can hide selection lines with Command -H instead of hiding Photoshop?

  37. “Interestingly enough, my experience is that many people will gladly take more time to complain about things than it would take to fix them! (Seriously, finding this blog, then writing up comments is much slower than choosing Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts & settings things as desired.)”
    I have a motto: it’s not the user who is stupid, it’s the design that is wrong. If people take so much time to complain when the fix is easy, maybe that’s because it’s not easy at all to get to know that the fix is easy. Because really, people are not _that_ stupid. If they knew the fix was easy, they’d fix it.
    The suggested behaviour for the next versions is welcome.

  38. Ugh! HATE THIS!! I’m so used to using cmd-H to hide edges for the last 20 years that it’s second nature to mm now. I accidentally chose the wrong (new) option in that dialog box and now I can’t figure out how to change it back! PITA!

  39. This is really awesome. I’ve been using Macs for 25 years and just now started getting in the habit of hiding apps. I was pleasantly surprised when Photoshop gave me that dialog box. Great idea! Thank you so much to the Photoshop team for being willing to implement it.
    Now would you mind calling up someone on the Illustrator team and encouraging them to do this too? 🙂 Illustrator completely ignores the CMD-H command, even when you take it out of the Keyboard Shortcuts.
    P.S.: Frank, you can put CMD-H back to hide selection edges. Just go to the Edit menu, choose “Keyboard shortcuts…”, popout the “View” menu, go down to “Show>Selection Edges”, click in the Shortcut column and hit CMD-H.

  40. Thanks so much to Jeffery Tranberry.
    I followed your recommendation. to switch back to
    Cmd H for hiding selections.
    you said: Just go to Edit> Keyboard Shortcuts and simply Change the “Set:” pop-up at the top of the dialog from “Photoshop Defaults (modified)” back to “Photoshop Defaults”.
    It worked like a charm. Thank you, Thank you!!!
    Ever Grateful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *